Who do you think we are?

I could start with punk rock’s first commandment “We don’t care” … but that wouldn’t be entirely true. We do. We see audiences enraptured by our performances but I can’t tell you that we have something special for you if I don’t know who you are. So I’m in a van in Northern Ontario on the second leg of a tour with nothing to do but think about you.

Because of my name and past we often get dismissed as rockabilly which is hard because fans of that music know we aren’t playing for them. I used to play it and that was a great decade but directions change. The same thing happened when I left Annihilator, anyone who came to see me expecting thrash left a little confused.

It’s been an ongoing transformation since Brandy and I sat down in 2011 and recorded Headless Fowl then hit the road with Murder by Death. The band then quickly went from more of a post-rocknroll trio to a Symphonic Americana 4-pc with cello, arco bass, guitars and percussion. We explore desert rock, bits and pieces of 70’s punk and post-rock with two vocalists and some of what they call the Jack White blues.

And it might be confusing (for sure it is to Google) that we still travel under my name. The reason is mainly because of the mileage on my odometer but also because I’ve learned how to make it happen. And we need that because this band totally nails it live; since we finished the Bestiary album the shows have been the best of my life. People call us intense, enigmatic and invigorating and that combination appeals to lots of folks seeking live entertainment no matter what they’re into.

But … we want to aim this beast at whoever is going to get the most out of it. So who are you? And where did you come from?

john at bigjohnbates dot com



Bestiary on Folkworld

“… a highly exciting and engaging ride through rock music old and new. I was already contemplating a rave review based on the fine female vocal work from bassist Brandy Bones, rocking guitars, and exciting rhythms when they sealed the deal on the fourth cut with a brilliant cover of ‘Black Soul Choir’ by one of my all time favorite bands, 16 Horsepower. But it still has many great moments thereafter. This one I’ll be playing a long time and it could be filed under folk-rock, with plenty of roots and enough mix of acoustic and electric excitement. Oh, and one more great cover of Iggy Pop’s ‘The Passenger’. Great music, totally fitting into the ‘Denver Sound’ even though this hails from Vancouver, Canada.”

Folkworld Magazine © David Hintz


CD Baby is helping out Xmas with both International and Domestic USA shipping for only a penny! Shop at CDBaby between Nov 30 through Dec 4 for Big John Bates! The new album will be up there soon but until then you can get Battered Bones or Headless Fowl

CAN-AM Tour 2015

Google Search is wrong for most dates on this tour (Nov 12 – Dec 12) so please check our TOURDATES link above or with the venues. Live music has been dying for an infusion of something fresh so we’ve been sharpening Americana Noir with a post-rock edge to bring you a one-of-a-kind symphonic rock’n’roll experience.

Available in the USA

Dear American friends, our record is now available in the USA on 12″ LP (white vinyl) and gatefold CD at Alternative Tentacles! Please support us and them and grab some sweet new music!

Alternative Tentacles Webstore